Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
67 3/4 x 79 1/2 in. (172.1 x 201.9 cm)
Initialed lower right: rfl; verso, upper left: rf Lichtenstein / '61
Classification: painting


In this catalogue paintings are classified as follows:

Painting is a work with acrylic and/or oil on canvas or on another two-dimensional support (canvas board, wood panel, etc.)

Painting (mural) is a large-scale painting, historically called "mural"

Painting on paper describes a work in acrylic, oil or watercolor on paper or board


Lichtenstein usually signed and dated a painting on the verso around the time it was finished, inventoried or shipped to a gallery or storage. Some pre-Pop paintings were dated in code (e.g., RLCR 502). 

See also: 8. DATES

Media Lines

Described are all media visible on a painting's recto. Paint is listed first, followed by graphite pencil where present, followed by the support. An inscription's medium is given beneath the media line if different from the painting media.

Acrylic and Oil Paints

The painting media lines in this catalogue are rarely based on technical analysis by a museum or a conservator. They are mostly informed by conversations with the artist's studio assistants, by examination of paint jars and tubes that were kept after the artist's death and by RLF records or Leo Castelli Gallery files. 

In this catalogue, all types of acrylic paint are listed as "acrylic" and all types of oil paint as "oil."

Historically, the brand name "Magna" (acrylic dispersion paint by Bocour Artist Colors, Inc.) has been used to describe all of Lichtenstein's acrylic. RLF records and technical analysis by art museums confirm that the artist did not only use Magna, but at times Liquitex acrylic emulsion paint and, later, Golden Artist Colors acrylic dispersion paint. When Magna production stopped in c. 1990, Lichtenstein bought up large amounts of Magna. He also reached out to Golden who worked with him to devise custom MSA colors in Lichtenstein's hallmark hues.      

Pop paintings and later works were usually painted with both acrylic and oil. It is assumed that around 1962, Lichtenstein experimented with Liquitex and Magna before adopting Magna as the main medium. For paintings of 1962–63, media lines are informed by notes on RL Studio Cards and/or in the Leo Castelli Gallery inventory. In rare instances, media lines were written by the artist on the verso of a work (e.g., RLCR 691). For paintings of 1964 and beyond, solid colors are assumed to be acrylic and dots and diagonals oil. However, it is possible that Lichtenstein continued his experimentation with paints through and after 1964.

Graphite Pencil Underdrawing

A closer look at Lichtenstein's paintings reveals that graphite pencil underdrawing and palimpsest is visible in most of them, starting in the 1960s. Nevertheless, pencil has not historically been mentioned in the related media lines. Due to the artist's well-known intention that his work not appear "too finished," this catalogue includes pencil in media lines. If in question from examination report results or other documentation, the presence of graphite pencil is assumed. When a researcher's examination report confirms that pencil is not visible, it is not included. 

Painting: Other Mediums and Techniques

Different types of canvas are not described. A regular type used was #10 cotton duck from New York Central Art Supply. Circular canvases were at least partially ordered there as well. Earlier paintings' canvases are typically finer and sometimes described as "linen" in studio records. 

In the Imperfect/Perfect and Entablature paintings, grainy areas are visible. Lichtenstein created this texture by adding beach sand, usually to a thick white underlayer over which he applied the final color. 

This reductive technique of line-making is found in about 25 pre-Pop paintings. 

Stretchers are not included in media lines. Lebron stretchers were standard orders from c. 1972 on, and were typically delivered assembled. A different stretcher brand was introduced once and quickly abandoned.  

Strip frames
Strip frames are not included in media lines. Slightly raised above the edges, strip frames served as a practical protection during shipment and storage movements and were routinely added to paintings at least from the time James dePasquale became Lichtenstein's assistant.   

Painting on Paper: Other Mediums and Techniques

Masking out
Masking techniques are indicated, but the material used (e.g., frisket, small objects) is not identified (e.g., RLCR 219).

Watercolor application
When it is applied in multiple ways, watercolor application method is described, otherwise brush is implied. For example, see RLCR 365, “Watercolor, brushed, smudged by hand and sprayed, with masking out, graphite pencil on paper." 


Painting dimensions are given from canvas edge to canvas edge, excluding original wood strip frames nailed to the edges. 

For multi-panel paintings, if panels are joined, overall dimensions and dimensions of each canvas are given. If panels are separate, only panel dimensions are provided since overall dimensions vary by installation. Lichtenstein usually suggested a distance of approximately 7 inches between canvases for installation. This fact informed spacing of related images in the catalogue entries (e.g., RLCR 1635). 

See also: 10. DIMENSIONS

Signature, Inscriptions, Marks

The artist usually signed and dated his paintings on the canvas verso in charcoal and applied a spray fixative before sending it to a gallery or storage.  

Pre-Pop paintings are often signed or initialed on the recto in oil, or inscribed with the artist's name and other tombstone information on the stretcher or tacking margin. 

See also: 11. INSCRIPTIONS

Read more: Guide to the Catalogue
Print this page

Catalogue entry

Artwork: The Engagement Ring, 1961 (RLCR 658)
RLCR 658 (LC 27; RL 0076)
The Engagement Ring
Title Source
Castelli; RL Studio Card
Alternate titles and sources: Engaged, The Engagement Ring (RL Register); Engagement Ring, It's… It's (RL Register)
Oil, graphite pencil on canvas
67 3/4 x 79 1/2 in. (172.1 x 201.9 cm)
Initialed lower right: rfl; verso, upper left: rf Lichtenstein / '61

Per Gagosian records, the work was most likely loaned or consigned to the Saatchi Collection from April 1991–March 1993.

Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, Milan, June 1963 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City; via Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris)
Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Rowan, Pasadena, Calif., by 1965
Dayton's Gallery 12, Minneapolis, December 1969 (via Leo Castelli Gallery, New York City)
Private collection, March 1970
Ernst W. Sachs, Rome, by 1971–72
Thomas Ammann Fine Art AG, Zurich
Mr. and Mrs. S.I. Newhouse, Jr., New York City, March 1988 (via Gagosian Gallery, New York City)
Collection of Ronnie and Samuel Heyman, Palm Beach, Fla., August 1993 (via Gagosian Gallery, New York City)
Leo Castelli Gallery (4 East 77th Street), New York, Roy Lichtenstein, February 10–March 3, 1962.
Art Gallery, Douglass College, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, Faculty Art Show, October 1–20, 1962.
Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland, 1er Salon international des galeries pilotes, June 20–September 22, 1963 (Musée Cantonal 1963, p. 222 ill.).
Montgomery Art Gallery, Pomona College, Claremont, California, Recent American Painting: Wesselmann, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, February 8–March 7, 1965.
San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, Six Artists From New York, April 15–May 22, 1966.
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena, California, Roy Lichtenstein, April 18–May 28, 1967 (Coplans 1967a, no. 3 p. 27 b/w ill.). Traveled to: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, June 23–July 30, 1967.
University of California, Irvine, California, A Selection of Paintings and Sculptures from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rowan, May 2–21, 1967 (only Irvine) (University of California, Irvine 1967). Traveled to: San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, June 2–July 2, 1967 (as American Art of the Sixties: Selections from the Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Rowan Collection; abridged).
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Roy Lichtenstein, November 4–December 17, 1967 (only London) (Stedelijk Museum 1967). Traveled to: Tate Gallery, London, January 6–February 4, 1968 (Tate 1968b); Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland, February 23–March 31, 1968 (Kunsthalle Bern 1968); (Tate 1968a); Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany, April 13–May 19, 1968 (Kestner-Gesellschaft 1968).
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940–1970, October 18, 1969–February 1, 1970 (Geldzahler 1969, no. 229 p. 89 color ill.).
Parcheggio di Villa Borghese, Rome, Contemporanea, November 30, 1973–March 18, 1974 (Incontri internazionali d'Arte, Rome 1973, no. 2 p. 206 b/w ill.).
Thomas Ammann Fine Art, Zurich, 10 Years: Thomas Ammann Fine Art Zurich 1977–1987, Impressionist and 20th Century Masters, June 17–September 18, 1987 (Thomas Ammann Fine Art 1987, no. 10 color ill.).
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective, October 7, 1993–January 16, 1994 (only New York, Los Angeles, Montreal) (Waldman 1993b, no. 51 n.p. color ill.). Traveled to: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, January 26–April 3, 1994; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Montreal, May 26–September 5, 1994; Haus der Kunst, Munich, October 13, 1994–January 9, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 51 n.p. color ill.); Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany, February 8–April 30, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 51 n.p. color ill.); Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, June 2–September 3, 1995 (included early works) (Waldman 1994, no. 51 n.p. color ill.); Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, September 21, 1995–January 7, 1996 (abridged version) (Waldman 1994, no. 51 n.p. color ill.).
"Something New Is Cooking." Life 52, no. 24 (June 15, 1962), p. 120 b/w ill. (with artist, cropped).
Kuh, Katherine. "Art in America in 1962: A Balance Sheet." Saturday Review (New York) 45, no. 36 (September 8, 1962), p. B b/w ill.
Boime, Albert. "Roy Lichtenstein and the Comic Strip." Art Journal 28, no. 2 (Winter 1968–69), no. 3 p. 157 b/w ill.
Thévoz, Michel. "L'image et son double." Le point (Brussels), no. 15 (April 1968), p. 26 b/w ill.
Waldman, Diane. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1971, no. 8 n.p. color ill.
Kettlewood, Beatrice Card. "A Study of Visual Space in Selected American Paintings 1945–1965: In Relation to the 1970–1972 Paintings of the Artist-Investigator." EdD diss., New York University, New York, 1972, no. 24 p. 137 b/w ill.
Alloway, Lawrence. Roy Lichtenstein. New York: Abbeville Press, 1983, no. 1 n.p. facing p. 7 b/w ill.
Busche, Ernst A. Roy Lichtenstein: Pop-Paintings, 1961–1969. Schirmer's visuelle Bibliothek 6. Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1989, no. 5 n.p. color ill.
Deitcher, S. David. "Teaching the Late Modern Artist: From Mnemonics to the Technology of Gestalt." PhD diss., City University of New York, New York, 1989, no. 68 n.p. ill.
Livingstone, Marco. Pop Art: A Continuing History. 1st ed. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1990, no. 99 n.p. following p. 73 color ill.
Contemporary Great Masters: Roy Lichtenstein. Tokyo: Kodansha Ltd., 1992, no. 61 p. 89 color ill.
Mamiya, Christin J. Pop Art and Consumer Culture: American Super Market. Edited by William H. Goetzmann. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1992, no. 44 p. 91 b/w ill.
Hendra, Tony. Brad '61: Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. New York: Pantheon Books, 1993, p. 38 color ill.
"A Stroll Up the Ramp with Roy Lichtenstein." New York Times, October 31, 1993, p. H39 b/w ill.
Richardson, Elizabeth. "Those Lichtenstein Women." Harper's Bazaar 126, no. 3383 (October 1993), no. 5 p. 235 color ill.
Jancène, France. "Les mots dans la peinture pop américaine: Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol et Roy Lichtenstein." PhD diss., Université de Paris X, Nanterre, 1997, p. 133 ill.
Marter, Joan, ed. Off Limits: Rutgers University and the Avant-Garde, 1957–1963. Newark, N.J.: Newark Museum; New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1999. Exhibition catalogue (1999 Newark, N.J, Newark Museum), no. 18 n.p. color ill. [not exhibited].
Lobel, Michael. Image Duplicator: Roy Lichtenstein and the Emergence of Pop Art. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002, no. 88 p. 140 b/w ill.
Collins, Bradford R. "Modern Romance: Lichtenstein's Comic Book Paintings." American Art (New York) 17, no. 2 (Summer 2003), no. 11 p. 70 b/w ill.
Beam, Alex. "Lichtenstein: Creator or Copycat?" Boston Globe, October 18, 2006, Living Arts sec, p. D2 b/w ill.
Reference Material
SRC 21215
Winnie Winkle
July 16, 1961

Branner, Martin (illustrator). "Winnie Winkle." Chicago Tribune (Comics Feature Magazine), July 16, 1961, p. 4.

Entry Updated December 7, 2023